Larvae of many insect species, including stag beetles, have a limited mobility from their initial oviposition site. The fate of immature stages, therefore, depends on the maternal choice of oviposition site. Decaying wood preference by stag beetles was studied in a dry-evergreen forest in Chanthaburi province, Thailand. From a total of 270 examined logs, 52 contained stag beetles (255 total), which were identified to eight species from five genera. Aegus chelifer chelifer MacLeay, 1819 (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) was the dominant species both by occurrence and by number of individuals.The occurrence and numbers of stag beetle larvae found in logs was more frequent in those of a moderate decay class, which had moderate hardness and water content. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that logs with stag beetles had relatively high nitrogen content and fungal biomass. Thus, selection of oviposition sites by stag beetles was likely to depend on both the log decay stage (or hardness) to protect immature stages from natural enemies and its nutritional properties to enhance the larval performance.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6